If you are looking for classic Cottage pie recipes to make, try this meat pie today! This Cottage Pie is so hearty and satisfying. The combination of ground beef and vegetables in gravy, tucked into creamy mashed potatoes and baked until golden will make everyone at your dining table happy! It's so filling and pretty healthy too.
Cottage Pie, also known as Shepherd's Pie is an inexpensive British meat pie that is made with cooked minced meat topped with mashed potato.
This Cottage Pie is the perfect addition to any weeknight, holiday dinner, or special occasion, like St. Patrick's Day. It can be made ahead of time and is freezable.
The Difference Between Cottage Pie and Shepherd's Pie
Many people wonder about the difference between “cottage pie” and “shepherd's pie”. The key is the type of meat that you use.
Shepherd's pie uses ground lamb while Cottage pie uses ground beef. Though it may not be correct I often hear Shepherd's Pie used to describe either one.
Cottage Pie Ingredients
To make Cottage Pie you'll need ground beef, onion, garlic, carrot, peas, corn, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, broth, dry red wine, flour, rosemary, thyme, baking potatoes, sour cream, half and half, unsalted butter, and parmesan cheese.
This recipe calls for a pretty long list of ingredients but I am sure that you can easily find them in your pantry and fridge.
Ground meat. In this recipe, I used lean ground beef. But you can use ground lamb to turn this into Shepherd's Pie or use ground turkey for a leaner result.
Broth. You can use either chicken or beef broth.
Dry red wine. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinot Noir are some of the dry red wines you can use. In this recipe, I personally used Burgundy (dry red wine from France).
You can also use beer such as an Irish beer like Guinness beer to add a special twist and flavor to the dish.
Alternatively, If you want to avoid alcohol you can skip and use broth instead.
Worcestershire sauce. This fermented liquid condiment is commonly used to boost the flavor of any stew, casserole, soup, or pie. If you don't have Worcestershire sauce on hand, feel free to swap it with low-sodium soy sauce. The Rule: Use ½ tbsp of low-sodium soy sauce for every tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.
Mixed Vegetables. I used fresh carrots, frozen peas, and frozen corn. This combination of veggies makes the pie shine. They add color, texture, and health benefits to the dish. If you are not a big fan of these veggies, feel free to use other greens according to your taste, such as mushrooms and zucchini.
How to Make Cottage Pie from Scratch
The preparation and cooking process of this Shepherd's Pie starts with making the filling, the topping, assembling the casserole, then baking it in the oven.
Step 1. Make the Cottage Pie Filling
- Cook the onion. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrot into the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes or until soft, stirring frequently.
- Brown the meat. Add the ground beef into the skillet. Breaking the meat apart with a spatula and season with salt and black pepper. Cook the meat undisturbed for 30 seconds. Make a small room to cook the garlic until fragrant, mix everything then continue cooking until the meat is browned for about 4 minutes.
- Add the thickening agent. Add the flour and tomato paste, cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
- Deglaze the pan. Pour in the red wine. Gently scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan and continue cooking until the liquid is almost gone.
- Thicken the sauce. Add the Worcestershire sauce, dried spices, and stock into the skillet. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low then simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until the sauce is thickened to a gravy-like consistency, stirring occasionally.
- Adjust the seasoning. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with additional salt, Worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste if needed according to your liking.
- Add the peas and corn. Turn off the heat then add the peas and corn. Mix well until combined.
Step 2. Make the Mashed Potatoes
- Boil the potatoes. In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes in salted cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat then lower the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 12-15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and fully cooked.
- Drain the potatoes really well. Remove the potatoes from the pot and drain well. Return the potates back to the sauce pan cook on low heat for 3 minutes to allow any excess water to dry off.
- Mash the potatoes and season. Mash the potatoes then add the salt, half and half, parmesan cheese, unsalted butter, salt, and sour cream. Mix well until combined.
Step 3. Assemble the Cottage Pie and Bake
- Spread the mashed potatoes. Dollop the hot mashed potatoes evenly over the filling that's in the skillet. Use a spatula to spread the mashed potatoes over all of the filling
- Seal. Create a seal around the edges of the skillet. This will prevent the mixture from bubbling and drying-up during the baking process.
- Add the parmesan cheese. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese on top.
- Bake. Transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake the cottage pie at 400°F for about 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.
How to Make Cottage Pie Ahead of Time
This Cottage Pie freezes well. Here are some options to make cottage pie in advance.
(Option 1) You can make this Cottage Pie for up to 3 days in advance (fresh) or 1 month in advance (freezer). Just assemble the casserole (from filling to topping), and let it cool down at room temperature (do not leave it for more than 2 hours), cover, and refrigerate until you're ready to bake it.
If it's frozen, thaw first before baking it in the oven.
(Option 2) Prepare the filling without assembling. You can freeze the ground meat mixture for up to three months. When you're ready to use it, simply defrost the ground meat, make the mashed potatoes, assemble the casserole, then bake.
How to Make Keto Cottage Pie
You can easily turn this classic cottage pie into keto cottage pie in a couple of easy steps. Here's how:
- Keto Cottage Pie Fillings
- Swap the peas and corn with mushrooms and/or zucchinis. If you are using mushrooms, you need to brown them first together with onion and carrots. If you're using zucchini, you just need to dice it into small pieces and add them to the ground beef mixture without browning at the end.
- Use almond flour instead of regular flour.
2. Keto Cottage Pie Topping
- Use this keto mashed caufilower recipe as a topping for your fillings instead of the regular mashed potatoes. You may need to increase the ingredients that the keto mashed cauliflower by 50% so you'll have enough of it to cover the fillings.
FAQ and Cooking Tips
Allow the leftover cottage pie to cool slightly but do not let it sit out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Properly stored, the leftover will last up to 5 days in the fridge or 2-3 months in the freezer.
Remove the cottage pie from the fridge (if frozen, thaw in the fridge first before reheating). Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil. Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes, or until the pie is hot throughout and reaches the minimum safe temperature of 165°F.
Check Out More Tasty Casserole Recipes
- Chicken Stuffing Casserole
- Corn Souffle
- Green Bean Casserole
- Summer Squash Casserole
- Fresh Broccoli Casserole
- Baked Spaghetti Casserole
- Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole
- Old Fashioned Tuna Casserole
Cottage Pie Recipe
- a 12-inch oven-safe skillet
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1½ cups small diced onion
- ¾ cup small diced carrots
- 1½ pounds lean ground beef, (90% Lean / 10% Fat).
- ¾ tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoon flour
- 2½ tablespoon tomato paste
- 1½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup Burgundy or any dry red wine, (such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Pinot Noir)
- 1 cup beef or chicken broth
- 1¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ cup fresh or frozen peas
- ½ cup fresh or frozen corn
Mashed Potatoes Filling:
- 2½ pounds russet potatoes, (peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks)
- ¼ cup half and half, heavy cream, or milk
- ¼ cup sour cream, (at room temperature)
- 6 tablespoon parmesan cheese, (divided)
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt, (to taste)
Prepare the Fillings
- In a 12-inch oven-safe skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Cook the onion and carrot until soft for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the ground beef, breaking the meat apart with a spatula, and cook, undisturbed for 30 seconds. Make a small room, add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper, continue cooking and stirring until the meat is browned for about 4 minutes.
- Add the flour and tomato paste, cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Pour in the red wine. Gently scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan and continue cooking until the liquid is almost gone, stirring frequently.
- Add the Worcestershire sauce, thyme, rosemary, and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low then simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until the sauce is thickened to a gravy-like consistency, stirring occasionally. Taste, add more salt or Worcestershire sauce if necessary. Turn off the heat.
- Stir in the peas and corn. Mix well until combined.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- In a pot, cover the potatoes in cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat then lower the heat to medium-low, cook for 12-15 minutes or until soft. Drain them over a colander and return the potatoes to a pot on low heat for 2 minutes then stir to allow any excess water to dry off.
- Microwave the half and half then butter for 35 seconds each time. In a bowl, mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, sour cream, butter, salt, and 2 tablespoon of parmesan cheese. Stir to combine.
Assemble and Bake
- In the skillet dollop the hot mashed potatoes over the filling and use a spatula to spread over all of the filling and the skillet edges. Sprinkle the top with the remaining parmesan cheese. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until bubbly.
I love the thick layer of mashed potatoes on it. Thankyou for pointing out the difference between the cottage and shepherds pie.
You're welcome, Seema!
This has to be the best comfort food ever! I haven't made it in so long. I need to change that asap. 🙂
Maria San Juan
So yummy! I am salivating reading this! Would love to make this soon! Thanks for sharing this recipe!
Best cottage pie ever!! That layer of mashed potatoes on top was the best. Used ground turkey to make it leaner...super delicious!
Thanks for trying, Heather! I am glad that you liked this recipe.
This Cottage Pie is heavenly. I never knew the difference between Cottage and Shepard's pie! I wonder what to call it when I make it with turkey?!